Friday April 18th 2014

Tree lighting, art walk, parade & craft fairs: Gardiner’s Days of Light

By: Shannon Bryan

Gardiner Main Street Celebrates Holiday Season with month-long “Days of Light”

Gardiner –   Downtown Gardiner glows with warmth and light as the community uncovers the true spirit of the season.  Celestial song lead by the choral group “Mainely Harmony” helps Gardiner residents summons the magic of the holidays by bringing to light the official tree in Downtown Gardiner from 5:30 to 6:30pm on Saturday, Dec. 1st.  The glow from these lights endures throughout the month of December as a number of events help to make the season bright.

The day of December 1st is full of events.  Holiday craft fairs will be held at numerous locations in town.  The Gardiner Public Library’s Annual Book Sale will begin.  Have a Go at Gardiner, an event of the Gardiner Heart and Soul project, will take place from 2-4 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on Pray Street.  Gardiner residents will share what is important to them about Gardiner through a series of fun events for all ages.  Next, decorate Grinch Heart cookies at the Who-liday Bakery in Johnson Hall.  There will be a contest for the best Cindy-Lou-Who look-alike.  The winner will ride in the holiday parade the following weekend.

“The holidays are an important time of the year for the community to come together to celebrate in Downtown, the heart and soul Gardiner,” says Patrick Wright, director of Gardiner Main Street.

Friday evening, Dec. 7th features the annual holiday Art Walk, as a number of Downtown galleries and businesses feature work from local artists from 5:30pm until 8:30 p.m.  During this time, Gardiner businesses will be open late, offering a candlelight shopping opportunity for those wishing to support local businesses by purchasing gifts or gift certificates.

The following morning, Water Street will be lined with spectators as community groups march Downtown in advance of the guest of honor, Santa Claus.  This year’s parade theme is “Who’s Your Favorite Who”.   Santa has taken time out of his busy schedule to meet with boys and girls in Johnson Hall directly after the parade.  The public is invited to linger downtown, and will have the opportunity to ride in the horse drawn wagon that carries St. Nick in the parade.

People of all faiths are invited to celebrate Hannukah at the A-1 Diner on December 9th from 2-4:30 p.m. with a traditional “Latke” (potato pancake) party.

New to Downtown Gardiner this year, Gardiner Youth Hockey presents “A Festival of Trees” on the waterfront December 21st.  This winter solstice party features visits with Santa, carolers, dancers, and a silent auction.  Dozens of holiday tress will be decorated in various themes.

Gardiner Main Street encourages everyone in the capital area to shop locally this holiday season.  Our downtowns are filled with unique shops offering uncommon gifts and experiences with knowledgeable and friendly merchants.  Pop-Up Stores and the 5th Annual Pottery Shoppe by the Central Maine Clay Artists have the storefronts bursting at the seams.  For those shoppers not sure what to get for loved ones, Gardiner Main Street has again arranged for “Gift of Gardiner” local gift checks to be sold at The Bank of Maine, 190 Water Street.  These gift checks, worth $20, can be redeemed at over 30 Gardiner locations.  Gardiner’s “Days of Light” are a way to celebrate our unique history, culture, and community during the holidays.  For a complete list of events, and more information on historic Downtown Gardiner, visit www.gardinermainstreet.org.